Monday, January 10, 2011

Trials and Temptations

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him. Mark 1: 9-13

There are times in life when we have extraordinary good times, when people celebrate us for who we are and we are surrounded by hope and possibilities. And there are times when it seems as every day is a trial and every challenge a temptation to turn back and give up. When we heard of the shootings over the weekend, senseless and horrific, so many instantly reacted with despair and fear. Others condemned one political leader or another. And yet, in this world of broken humans, where we can only hide so much, the encounter with the worst in us is inevitable. But it does not mean that God is not caring for us, loving us in the midst of our worst trials and tribulations, and finding hope in the hopeless and terrifying moments. Some were heroic who in the past have stood by and trembled. Others found a way to give of themselves and lend a hand. Redemption even in the embers of such great losses.

We have these few phrases from Mark about the baptism of Jesus and his temptations. We know in his humanity Jesus struggled with the weight that was put u[on him and the role he was destined to play. He prayed and struggled with what God was doing in his life. He was pulled many directions as we are, and torn asunder with the injustice and lack of compassion that surrounded him. He cried for the judgment and the blame that swirled everywhere he went. And yet, in the end, he gave it all to God, putting one foot in front of the other and did his best to be God's child, God's son, the Redeemer of the world. And we too are invited to be the children of God. We ache and weep to be known and loved by God and yet we run when trials get close and the road is unclear.And God promises to surround us with angels to care for us in our darkest moments.

So today I want to remember that when ever I am overwhelmed by the trials and tribulations that life brings, I am sharing a process with Jesus, struggling with life's temptations and will be surrounded by angels so that God might prevail in our callings. May we all wait for the angels today, despite the very real tragedies that confront us, knowing that we are beloved children of a very loving God.

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